I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if you had never heard of the Vimeo Tip Jar feature, as it’s kind of buried and unless you’re creating content, you probably never see it. Basically, it was a feature that allowed any Plus or Pro Vimeo content creator to allow viewers to donate money as a “thanks” or “tip” for the viewing experience.
In one of my videos, I enabled the feature to show you where it shows up:
The option for this is located in the video settings panel:
It was a cute idea that allowed anyone to watch your video without gating them behind paywalls, but if someone really appreciated it they could still pay you for the experience. You’re limited to $1 through $500, and it works a lot like Reddit Gold in terms of “appreciation.” The thing is, Vimeo probably saw that great content wasn’t really being tipped, and content creators probably saw they weren’t making a heck of a lot of dime off it.
So, farewell Tip Jar. You are being replaced with something Vimeo hopes will be a lot more lucrative for the content creators.
Instead of the Tip Jar, Vimeo wants content creators to go through their Vimeo On Demand service, which is basically that pay wall I mentioned earlier that Tip Jar got around. I’m sure this is a much more efficient way to make money, but also a way to ensure you’re going to get a lot fewer viewers because the content is locked behind the need to dish out dough (and c’mon, the internet is notoriously stingy).
It’s pretty clear where Vimeo wants to take their service, and doing things this way is helping to differentiate their content over that which you find on Youtube and how the videos over there are monetized. We’ll see which one works out better for the viewer/creator system, since I’m not sure either one of these methods is weighted properly towards either party. YouTube does pay creators, but in a way that is vastly weighted to benefit the viewers (most of whom do not contribute to any of the money that gets to creators). Vimeo’s method probably will pay content creators better since 100% of the people watching had to pay, but there will be a heck of a lot less of them.